I am still making various quality tests with my new studio set up, here is my Hawthorn Raft today just coming into leaf, I am really excited too because for the first time in 26 years there are flower buds on the tree. So expect a flowering raft in the next few weeks! Select the photo to see full size!
Yesterday (New Years Eve) I went out with my Buddy Steve Marley and his two dogs, we walked over 9 miles across the moors, when we set off it was a beautiful morning, as the day progressed the weather changed. These are some of my photos of the trees en-route and the moss that is so prevalent at this time of year.
Over the last 18 months a rather large growth rapidly appeared on the lower right side of my Hawthorn Raft it was growing so large that the lower branch was being hidden and its movement lost look closely and you can see how fast it grew… cracking and swelling in all directions. It was changing the character and shifting the visual weight of the tree, it had to be stopped in its tracks and the growth suppressed.
Completely removing the bulge would leave a large scar and ‘dead’ area so careful consideration as to the final ‘image’ was critical. A Scar is inevitable as the bulge was so large, so I hollowed it out retaining the front but removing the lower part to expose the movement in the lower branch.
Using a fine ‘pull’ saw I made a horizontal cut towards the area where the growth started. Then using chisels cut away the bulk, refining using a Dremel and cutter.
The work was done in the fall so that no callusing will take place, in fact I would like a small amount of natural dieback, I will not be putting wound sealant on either to create a more ‘natural’ appearance.
When you are developing a deciduous tree you want maximum growth and choice of branches as you progress towards the design you are hoping to achieve. Once you have arrived at the point ongoing maintenance is critical to keep the tree in scale and shape is a year round task.
When I am preparing this tree for exhibition I start 24 months in advance so that it can be presented in prime condition. This week I thinned out the small branches and removed crowded internodes. If this work is not done annually the canopy of the tree becomes a tight knot of thorns and twisted branches. I will wire with aluminium the odd branch to fill in where I have made a hole by removing the ‘star’ clump of small branches.
I work my Hawthorns as closely as they would grow in nature and not force them into a style not representative of the wild trees where I live.
The work appears very subtle and the difference in the two photos almost imperceptible.